Textbooks and stationery for all primary school children in Zimbabwe - packing and distribution operation

UNICEF Supply | 15 April 2011 | 0 comments

Text book

© UNICEF Supply

Zimbabwe has long had Africa’s highest literacy rate (90 per cent), with one of its best education systems. But this was seriously weakened by the economic decline of the country. In primary schools, the average textbook ratio had fallen to 10 students to one textbook. In 2009, the Government established the Education Transition Fund (ETF) project to rebuild the primary education sector. Twelve donors contributed $52 million and UNICEF Zimbabwe was assigned to manage the project, setting about the procurement and distribution of stationery, textbooks and steel cabinets (in which to store the textbooks), to every school in the country.

$32 million was allocated to procurement and $3 million to the distribution of the materials - to over 5,575 schools:

9,400 stationery kits ($4,581,842) (procured in kit form in China)

11,200 steel cabinets ($1,539,602) (procured from South Africa)

15 million textbooks: Core subjects: English, Maths, Science, Shona and Ndebele. Grades 1-7

A dramatic cost saving was achieved in the procurement of textbooks ($12 million) which resulted in a doubling of the textbooks procured from 7.5 million books to 15 million, but also ensured that teachers guides, books in minority languages and Braille books could be procured. UNICEF Zimbabwe also undertook the warehousing, packing and distribution to every school.

As primary schools opened in January 2011, every child in the country was handed a set of core textbooks, and the stationery to be able to study. This made Zimbabwe the only country in sub-Saharan Africa with a 1:1 ratio of textbooks to pupils in all core subjects.

This story had a series of sequels. The distribution to primary schools was so successful that UNICEF Zimbabwe went on to target all Zimbabwe’s secondary schools for which textbooks were also procured, packed and distributed, along with sports kits. After that UNICEF Early Childhood Development kits (for pre-school institutions like kindergartens) were procured and distributed.

For full details of the ETF packing and distribution operation, see Zimbabwe Education Transition Fund – Packing and Distribution by UNICEF Supply and Logistics Manager Aubaid Raman and Logistics Specialist Emma Maspero..

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